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PM to attend N-summit in US
Published on 28 Jan. 2010 12:01 AM IST
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: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit the U.S. in April to attend a global Summit on nuclear security, a topic that is of immense interest to India considering apprehensions over safety of atomic arsenal in Pakistan and proliferation originating from there. Along with the U.S .visit, Dr. Singh is also likely to travel to Brazil for the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit. The Nuclear Security Summit, called by President Barack Obama, is slated to be held on April 12-13 and Dr. Singh is expected to attend it, sources said here on Tuesday. During Dr. Singh’s visit to Washington in November last, the issue related to the upcoming Summit had come up during the discussions. Dr. Singh later had said that India would “work with the United States and other countries for the success of the nuclear security summit.” A joint statement issued after the talks had said that Singh and Obama looked forward to the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit and working together with all participating states for the success of the meet. Nuclear security is of immense interest to India considering apprehensions about safety of Pakistan’s arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists. Also there have been considerable concerns over the proliferation of nuclear technology and material originating from Pakistan. Underlining India’s commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons, the Prime Minister had, during his Washington visit, welcomed the renewed international interest in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The April Summit assumes greater significance as it precedes the NPT Review Conference to be held in May.India is being pressed by the world to sign the NPT and the issue is expected to figure at the meet. New Delhi has refused to sign the NPT, terming it as flawed and discriminatory.Dr. Singh is expected to tag the U.S. visit along with a trip to Brazil for the fourth IBSA Summit. The meet was originally to take place in October but had to be deferred because of Dr. Singh’s hectic travel schedule then. Meanwhile, Manmohan Singh is planning to go to Saudi Arabia around the end of February, his first overseas visit of 2010 that will have an extradition treaty and pledges of big-ticket Saudi investments into India as its highlights. The visit is under consideration. He could go around February end or the first week of March. It is being finalised,” knowledgeable sources told IANS. It will be the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Riyadh, the world’s top oil producer that supplies nearly 30 percent of India’s crude oil needs, since Indira Gandhi went there in 1982. Building upon their counter-terror cooperation since the landmark visit of the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in 2006, the two sides are planning to sign an extradition treaty, which they have been discussing for years, during the visit. The treaty will underline a new trust and synergy between India and the Gulf’s most influential country, home to 1.6 million-strong Indian diaspora. “The draft has been finalised. Only some formalities remain to be completed between the two sides,” the sources added. The cabinet is expected to approve the treaty soon. It will enable India to get access to some of fugitives like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who are often spotted in Saudi Arabia. Ibrahim is wanted in India for the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai. Riyadh is keen to seek greater counter-terror cooperation with New Delhi and has consistently expressed solidarity with India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Another area that is going to see a tangible breakthrough during Manmohan Singh’s visit - deferred many a time in the last three years due to scheduling issues - is the expected announcement of some showpiece investments by Saudi companies in the infrastructure sector. Saudi investors are looking at India, the world’s second fastest growing economy, afresh specially after the global financial crisis when they lost heavily in the crunch. The investment proposals will also be discussed when a Saudi delegation headed by their deputy minister for trade comes to India for the two-day Indo-Arab conclave next month. India is planning to offer $9 billion in investments to Gulf countries during the conclave, the sources said. Indian companies have already invested around $2 billion in the Gulf’s largest economy. With Saudi Arabia looking at India anew as a knowledge power, expanded cooperation in areas like IT and science and technology will be among important outcomes of the visit. The spadework for the visit was done by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who attended the eight session of the Joint Commission in Riyadh in October. India feted King Abdullah as chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2006 - the first visit by a Saudi monarch to the country in over half a century.

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